Saturday, 7 June 2014

Obligation not to publish

It seems to me that it could be argued that there is an obligation (potentially even a moral one) not to publish if what you are publishing is not adding novel content to the sum total of human knowledge. Any publication that adds content that is not novel, increases that total amount of content, without increasing the total value of the content, and as such dilutes value in the body of human knowledge. This dilution makes it harder for people to find the right information - effectively an inefficiency in society.

I fully acknowledge that through this blog I am probably failing to fulfil this obligation.

An interesting aspect to this thought is the challenge of establishing whether any content is novel. The existing sum total of human knowledge is not readily searchable for a number of reasons: not all is digitised; not all is in a language the searcher is familiar with; much that is digitsed is behind a paywall (especially books); and, notably, an idea that is equivalent may be expressed in materially different ways that would be hard for a searcher to identify.